Report: State Must Leverage Offshore Wind Industry Opportunities

12.28.2021
Economy

Connecticut is in a strong position to support the state’s nascent offshore wind industry, with opportunities for improving and better leveraging existing assets according to a new report.

The report, Embracing the Potential of Offshore Wind in Connecticut: A Study of Opportunities and Challenges, features recommendations for Connecticut to best capture the future benefits of the industry.

Produced by McAllister Marine Engineering LLC, the report was commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, Eversource, and the Danish company Ørsted.

Chamber president and CEO Tony Sheridan said the report highlights “the economic opportunities available, our advantages in attracting those opportunities, and challenges that can keep the state from realizing the maximum potential offered by offshore wind power.”

Competitive Advantages

New London is the hub for Eversource and Ørsted’s Revolution Wind joint partnership, which includes a $235 million expansion of the city’s State Pier.

Eversource and Ørsted are developing the 704 megawatt Revolution Wind offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island.

Bridgeport is the main staging point for the 804 megawatt Park City Wind project being developed off Massachusetts by Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

The report cites Connecticut’s deep-water ports, a well-developed supply chain built around General Dynamics Electric Boat’s operations, advanced manufacturing expertise, and skilled workforce as competitive advantages.

Sheridan called the report a “detailed analysis of the industry and a guide for businesses looking to expand by pivoting from their current operations to add the billion-dollar offshore wind industry to their portfolios.”

Recommendations

While the state has authorized procurement of up to two gigawatts of wind power, the report recommends that “to entice the industry and keep Connecticut attractive/relevant, the state should provide more clarity and a formal vision for its OSW-derived energy goals and procurement schedule.”

The report calls for strengthening the wind industry supply chain, including leveraging companies that can quickly pivot current capabilities and incentivizing businesses to build new higher-tier manufacturing facilities.

It also highlights the state’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, calling for a focus on manufacturing corrosion-resistant components.

“Other states will be competing for these jobs, so it is crucial that we take this report seriously.”

CBIA’s Chris DiPentima

Thousands of jobs are expected to be created through offshore wind projects and the report recommends investment and resources to support a wide range of workforce development initiatives.

“This report makes clear that Connecticut has the ability to be a leader in the offshore wind industry,” CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said.

“But it also lays bare the obstacles facing the state. Other states will be competing with Connecticut for these jobs, so it is crucial that we take this report seriously.”

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